Women at SXSWi

Where are the women in tech? They are at SXSWi.

The South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSWi) ongoing in Austin the last few days is famous for several reasons. It’s a gathering place for techies of every stripe, but the techies I want to bring to your attention today are the women. A hallmark characteristic of SXSWi is its equal treatment of women.

There were four keynote speakers. Two were women: danah boyd and Valerie Casey. They talked about privacy and publicity and about the role the interactive community can play in sustainability. Two brilliant and inspiring women giving the important keynote talks this year.

keynote danah boyd

There were some BlogHer faces you might recognize. One panel on 8 Ways to Deal with Bastards featured Karen Walrond, and Catherine Connors (herbadmother) and Susan Wagner were in the audience, as was I.

#8bastards Some BlogHers

I randomly ran into fascinating women all the time. I sat down at a table to check my schedule and started chatting with this woman.

in the hall

She works for Oxfam International and had all sorts of interesting things to say about the work and campaigns that Oxfam is involved with. When I asked her if she knew about Beth Kanter from BlogHer, she was full of praise.

In the Trade Show, there was one tiny booth with no bling and no hoopla. It was a space for Women Techies United and featured information about women2.0, She’s Geeky, Women Who Tech, Girls in Tech, devChix, LinuxChix, NCWIT, Astia, Digital Sistas and the Anita Borg Institute.

This group of Women Techies United threw a small get together during the conference. Some of the action at that event is shown in the accompanying slide show. Each women took the opportunity to tell who she was, what she was interested in, give contact information. The talk veered toward who was willing to speak at those conferences where there is less dedication to making sure women are on the program than you see at SXSW. From there the conversation branched out into all sorts of other interests shared by women.

One of the most informative and helpful panels I attended (and there are plenty of those) was on Black Blogging Rockstars and featured two women, DeDe Sutton and Gina McCauley. I happened to sit next to Skye Kilaen at this panel, who was working on doing tech support for the BlogHer Ad Network while we waited for the panel to start. Just one of many people who snatched moments away from the action at SXSW to do their normal work.

Black Blogging Rockstars Skye

There were many other women at SXSWi, I’ve hardly scratched the surface. I took a lot more photos than these and posted them in a SXSW 2010 set on Flickr or in the previous few days of slideshows. I tried to capture a feeling of what it’s like to attend SXSW with these photos. You may see some familiar faces in the crowds.

Cross posted at BlogHer.

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